Podcast: Ross And Phil Talk…  Aquaman (And other DC Movies)

Podcast: Ross And Phil Talk… Aquaman (And other DC Movies)

Ross and Phil Talk Movies The Podcasts

 

On this episode of the podcast we talk about Aquaman.  Well Ross does.  A lot.  We also cover off a lot of other DC movies and ask which was the better fish movie… this or the one starring Vinnie Chase?

Hosted by Award winning filmmaker Ross Boyask and blogger/writer/failed filmmaker Phil Hobden.

Films Discussed: Aquaman, Entourage, Flash Gordon, Justice League, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Man Of Steel, Superman, Arrow, Elseworlds, Black Panther

For more on Ross Boyask search @RossBoyask on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Also check out @EvoFilmsUK online.
For more on Phil Hobden check out www.philhobden.co.uk , Twitter (@PhilQuickReview) and Instagram (RossAndPhilTalkMovies)

#RossAndPhil #RossAndPhilTalkMovies #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts

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Arrow-verse: Elseworld (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Arrow-verse: Elseworld (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Arrow-verse (The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and sometimes Legends Of Tomorrow) delivers its fifth annual cross over event and manages once again to show just how much DC rules the roost on TV (Yes Netflix Marvel shows I’m looking at you).   Bringing in Batwoman, Superman, Lois Lane and all the regular cast, Elseworld is funny, smart,  compelling and never feels baggy across its three episodes. Where as the big screen DC movies (not least the bloated Batman Vs Superman & Justice League) rely on effects and spectacle, the TV show is driven by character and ultimately this means you care. If only DC films could just once in a while see what their TV counterparts are doing Marvel could finally have some competition.  Elseworld is by far the strongest  Arrow-verse cross over yet, expertly sets up next years big event and leaves you wanting more.  What more could you ask.

Best Bit: Barry/Oliver

Watch, Stream, Avoid: Watch

If You Liked this Try: Batman Vs Superman, Justice League, Avengers Infinity War 

 


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Phil’s Top 5…  TV Shows That Dived in Quality

Phil’s Top 5… TV Shows That Dived in Quality

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out:  TV Shows That Dived in Quality

 

Close but no cigar: Homeland, True Detective, American Crime Story , Sliders, Heroes

 

5 – Arrow
Arrow started so well, with a spirited cast, simple story and great action.  Whilst the action is still there the rest, sadly, has fallen by the wayside.

4 – Sherlock
The first two seasons especially were sharp, witty and essential.  It ended as a mess as far removed from the source material as you could get.

 

3 – Lost
Lost was never going to stick the landing, especially when you learnt that there was never a planned story. But man that final season was pretty bad.

 

2 – Dexter
Dexter was the best show on TV for 4 1/2 seasons.  Sadly it went on for much longer, cumulating in a final year that was about on of the worst final years in of a show in memory. 

 

1 – The Walking Dead
The fall of The Walking Dead has been pretty epic.  From TV’s best show to what is now, at best, a boring, repetitive mess.

 

 

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2015

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2015

Quick Review Year In Review

so 2015 quite simple smashed it out the park.  Whilst film faltered, TV just kept getting better and better. So here is the run down of my 5 (well 6) top shows of 2015…

TV Show(s) of The Year: Narcos & Daredevil 
In Brief: I just could split these two top notch Netflix shows.  Daredevil gave us what is probably the best version of a Marvel TV show we could have hoped for along with by far the best Marvel villain in Wilson Fisk whilst Narcos gave us a crime Tv show with edge, bite and style.  It’s no accident that Netflix have multiple mentions here… they are winning TV hands down.


 

 

2. Game Of Thrones (Spoilers)
In Brief:  Bloody hell. This get’s second place just for THAT episode let alone THAT ending.  Okay so it lost it’s way on some of the sub plots but overall this show just gets bigger & bolder whilst smashing the boundaries of what to expect on TV.

3. Better Call Saul
In Brief: Who knew? A prequel to Breaking Bad which not only did suck but ended up being one of THE TV highlights of 2015.  Now as long as it can continue to carve it’s own path in 2016 we should be in line for something quite special.

4. Ash Vs Evil Dead
In Brief: It’s the show that we never thought we’d get became the show that we never thought could deliver which cam ether show that not only delivered but delivered BIG.  Okay so most won’t care but man this is every bit the Evil Dead TV show we wanted.  Gore, Swearing, Ash…. yup.

5. Hannibal
In Brief: Hannibal ended on a bloody high, one of the most out there TV shows I’ve ever seen.  From the performance to the production, Hannibal was high art does as TV.  It did things it’s own way and boy did it never compromise.

Bubbling under:
Justified
(Just misses out on a top 5 spot but what a season), The Walking Dead (strong season), Fear The Walking Dead (excellent debut), Doctor Who (Best season yet), Sons Of Anarchy (finished on a high), Flash (built on a great first year), Gotham (Oh my god, the improvement from season 1 to 2 is amazing), House Of Cards (weakest season so far but still excellent)

 

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2014

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2014

Quick Review

So 2014 is almost over and it’s that time a year again where everyone reflects back on their best and worst films of the year. This year for the first time I look back on my 5 favourite TV shows of 2014…

TV Show of The Year: The Newsroom
In Brief: Generally unlike by the American HBO audience, Aaron Sorkin’s clever, well crafted and expertly performed TV show went out on a high.  Funny, charming and with a full realised cast, The Newsroom was always one of the best shows on TV.  Thankfully it didn’t drop the ball in it’s final run.

 

2. Game Of Thrones (Spoilers)
In Brief:  That was one hell of a season.  Joffrey died. Tyron killed his dad. The dragons started killing kids and the Battle of the Wall made you realise just how good TV could be.  Throw in the witty dialogue, great characters, spluttering of nudity and more violence than you can bash a stick with and you have one hell of a group breaking TV show.

3. The Flash & Arrow
In Brief: The Flash started well in it’s first season and has gotten better and better week by week.  Arrow started off not so good, but again has found it’s stride and improves ever week.  Whilst DC movies can’t seem to do anything right, DC TV is getting stronger and stronger.  These may not be better than say House Of Cards or True Detective but brain off entertainment doesn’t get better than this.

4. Sons of Anarchy
In Brief: Not it’s greatest season, but again a show that went out on a high, getting stronger and stronger as each episode went along.  It didn’t end well for everyone, as beloved character after beloved character fell, but in the end it served up an excellent story that has greatly elevated the careers of everyone involved.

5. Hannibal
In Brief: The year when Network TV pushed and then broke the boundaries, Hannibal is a show that just shouldn’t work.  But it does.  Oh god does it work. Great cast, great stories and effects that movies would struggle with, Hannibal did everything right and ended in on of the greatest TV episodes of the year.

Bubbling under:
Bates Motel, Orphan Black, Doctor Who, True Detective, Justified, New Girl, Walking Dead, 24 , House Of Cards,

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire TV Reviews

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire TV Reviews

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

At the moment, myself and Mrs Geek are currently watching no less than 6 series ether on dvd or on TV.  To quote Mr Peter Quill himself- some  good, some bad, and some a bit of both – read on.

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The Walking Dead – Season 5

Without doubt still one of the best TV shows ever made. Monday’s Season 5 premiere kicked off with an absolute barnstormer of an episode as Rick, Karl, Darryl and the rest fight tooth and nail to escape their sinister Terminus captors. Honestly, I simply cannot fault this series, brilliant writing, incredible zombie effects, outstanding acting (especially Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus) and relentless pulse pounding excitement. If you haven’t been watching this then shame on you – the previous 4 seasons are all available to buy on dvd now and I highly recommend you invest asap.

Season 5 now showing on Fox

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Arrow – Season 1

DC Comics continues to lag behind Marvel with this so so Batman clone.  Spoiled billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is marooned on an island for 5 years, during which he  acquires a certain set of skills (including being a dead shot archer) that, upon  returning to his home town of Starling City, he uses to deadly effect on the criminal underworld.  I’m most of the way through season 1 and to be honest its not bad, fairly entertaining in parts and has some goodish action scenes. But to be honest I can’t get my head around how much of a rip off it is of Batman – especially the Dark Knight trilogy.

(available on dvd, with s3 now showing on Sky)

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Boardwalk Empire – Season 5

Now in its final season on Sky Atlantic. Still looks good and Steve Buscemi is excellent as ever, but despite this, it has been very slow to start and isn’t nearly as engaging as it used to be.  I’m certainly going to stick with it until the end but it was a wise idea by the network to make this its last season.

Showing on Sky Atlantic with other seasons available on dvd.

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Under The Dome – Season 2

The further travails of the townsfolk of Chester’s Mill  -still stuck under the dome with no way to get out and no clue as to what it is or why its there. Possibly the worst acted series on TV at the moment, shockingly so by some of the cast. The trouble is that the plot is very interesting and I really want to see how it all ends.  It just needs to end soon!

Season 2 now showing on Channel 5

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The Strain – Season 1

After the suppurating pustule of a film that was last years Pacific Rim I thought id never be able to watch anything else made by Guillermo Del Toro.  Mercifully, I was dead wrong as The Strain (produced and written by GDT) is absolutely gripping. The plot involves a plane that lands at JFK airport with most of its passengers and crew dead.  However those that have survived are infected with a deadly vampire virus that now threatens to infect the entire US population – unless a small team of doctors and an ageing vampire hunter can stop it first.  Cracking series this, very well made, superbly plotted and intelligently written – don’t miss it!

Season 1 showing on Sky now.

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The Leftovers- Season 1

Written by Lost’s Damon Lindelof and produced by Peter Berg, The Leftovers deals with the aftermath of an unexplained “rapture” like event where 3% of the world’s population have just upped and vanished. Now you would think that this would make for a damn good watch – sadly, despite being superbly put together and very well acted (Justin Theroux in particular is a standout) I am completely failing to see the appeal. The trouble is that it can’t seem to decide whether it’s a sci fi, a mystery, a human drama or all three put together. The other issue is that, whilst out promoting it, Lindelof publically stated that there isn’t going to be any explanation as to the cause of all the people disappearing. Which for me, totally diluted the initial reason I was so intrigued to watch it in the first place.

Season 1 showing on Sky now.

 

Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: The Machine – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: The Machine – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Machine is a rare thing – an exciting, well made independent science fiction film that adeptly manages to mix high concept with arse kicking action.  Arrow’s Caity Lotz , alongside former Bond villain Toby Stephens star in a film that, in lesser hands, could have been a real drag but director Caradog W. James works his limited budget well and really delivers the moments that matter.  Add to that a believable look and feel and what you have here is a little gem of a movie. 

Best Bit: Action sequences 

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent

If You Liked this Try: Hell, Zero Theorem, Pi

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Review: The Stuff – Arrow Re-Release (BR)

Review: The Stuff – Arrow Re-Release (BR)

Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: I’ve never really been a fan of transfers of old 80s and 70s movies to Blu Ray – if anything, the super high definition aspect takes away from the quaint, dodgy “tracking” visuals of the old VHS. Stop motion and green screen visual effects also don’t translate too well, either. There’s something about high def that really accentuates the blemishes that the filmmakers patently had not considered back in the day when they were making the movie. Late last year, retro supreme “Hidden gem” wonder company Arrow Video announced that The Stuff was up for the same treatment – and suddenly, I found myself discarding my values and opinion and started ticking away the days till the release.

Boy, did that day take its time coming. March 10th 2014 sees Arrow Video’s effort in re-releasing The Stuff on BluRay for the first time, with accompanying DVD. I’ve owned every iteration/release of Larry Cohen’s bonkers “The Stuff” – three video tapes, from the original CBS Fox release, through to the Video Collection budget label. I even tracked down the original CBS Fox VHS of A Nightmare on Elm Street just to own the trailer for The Stuff. A trailer, it must be said, is sublime in its origin playing as a break in the messages to bring about an important message that a killer foodstuff is out there and that you should avoid it at all costs.

And then, in late 2000, Anchor Bay gets its paws on for the first ever DVD release. I remember receiving that disc with baited breath; a commentary by director Cohen and the trailer meant suddenly, a crisp picture was in store. That said, the Anchor Bay DVD was the first time I’d seen the film in crisp detail. Some of the effects (particularly the green screen of the kid in the tanker truck) really brought out the jarring B movie effects, with the result of watching the film nearly as a making-of documentary. A blow by blow account of the effects and quite obviously how they were done. Nothing could really quite recapture the battered, pause-stricken VHS tape of old – but there was a commentary. I own a further three versions of the movie on DVD. One of them is clearly a dodgy Malaysian DVD with different artwork and no extras. The UK saw fit to release the film as part of an extensive “B movie” collection, both as a pack and individually, replete with the Anchor Bay commentary extra goodies, despite not advertising them on the cover. Finally, in the US two years ago, Midnight Madness release another version not worth buying, as it turns out – but bought by me in the sole instance of being something of a completest.

So, here’s the Arrow Video Blu Ray release. The content of the disc on this release has obviously been made by a fan who’s nearly in love with the film as I am. There’s a menu screen, for a start – the theme from one of the commercials plays happily over a montage of clips from the movie which lasts about 60 seconds. Not all BluRay releases get even this treatment; they’re fairly content just to start the film and have their ribbon advertise scene selections etc. So, here’s our first indication that Arrow have done well. Next up are the special features which, it must be said, are split between the digital and physical. I’ll tackle them one at a time:

Trailer: a crisp and well-restored 1min 36sec trailer (the original American release) possesses the requisite thrills. Sure, you can see this on YouTube – but what you don’t get there is…

Darren Bousman’s Trailer Commentary: the director of Saw II and Saw III has about as much screen time as the trailer on this disc, briefly explaining The Stuff’s influence on his filmmaking, and proceeds to continue talking over the trailer. It’s not so much a commentary on the trailer, as it is a two minute interview with Bousman which merely cuts to the trailer. This is taken from Trailers From Hell – but still, it’s a welcome side note.

Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature (52min 11sec): Okay, now we’re in business. For die-hard obsessives, I’m afraid to say that this documentary really won’t tell you anything you don’t already know about the production of the movie. Part hazy recollection, part subversive commentary on just how daft the film is, this documentary is glued together by very recent, exclusive interviews with writer/director Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, mechanical makeup effects artist Steve Neill, lead actress Andrea Marcovicci and our old own critic and author Kim Newman, all of whom ruminate and speculate on why the movie is thought of as a cult classic. What is interesting is – with the exception of Newman – just how soft everyone comes across, apart from Larry himself. Steve Neill and Paul Kurta in particular are not too good at concealing the fact that Cohen is a hard-driver and that the film was truly a slog to get through. Marcovicci spends most of her time smiling, trying very hard to recollect what actually went on; she’s clearly moved on, but retains a fondness for the film (which is news to me as a fan, as I thought she’d disowned it.) Cohen himself is as studious and insightful as always – everyone else, including Newman, remarks on just how crazy and slapdash the whole affair is. Cohen sticks by his allegorical guns. As someone who’s firmly in the middle, it’s lovely to be the middle man for once.

And as for the transfer – well, it’s pretty damned good. Watching this 2K restoration has its pros and cons if you’re a die-hard fan, though. On the plus side you can really pick out little details over and above what’s seen in the DVD release. You can read text on some of the props, and in a number of scenes, you can see the bottom of frame. The post office scene, for example, when the camera pans left just before Charlie punches the door open reveals someone’s hair/top of their head beneath the camera frame. Which leads us nicely on to the not-so-good aspects. The green screen isn’t just apparent, now – it practically has neon lights blinking “LOOK AT ME!” which would take anyone who hasn’t seen it before right out of the film. By anyone, obviously, I mean anyone who’s not on nodding terms with terrific B movie nonsense. It’s not enough – never enough<!> – to ever take me out of the movie.
Also available, thankfully – especially those of us in the UK – is a reversible sleeve for the jacket. A newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin is what greets you on the front cover; a fine effort – but big shoes to fill when you consider that the original green-faced classic by mega-genius Graham Humphreys adorns the other side. I know which side of the sleeve I’ll be using! There’s also a booklet available which unfortunately didn’t come with the screener I was sent, but I am sure it’s very revealing. Also revealing is the absence of Anchor Bay’s DVD commentary – which I obviously consider to be one of the best commentary tracks ever made. Oh well.

And so to the film…

Well, those of you who know me well enough as a film critic know that I don’t award anything higher than an 8 out of 10 in my reviews. Let me put you out of your misery, this is the 10-out-of-10 movie to end them all. I’ve always said RoboCop is the greatest movie ever made. Well, “The Stuff” is my favourite movie of all time. I don’t expect you to understand, appreciate or even agree with me. You have your own shitty retrograde nonsense you consider to be your favourite film, and I have mine.

In a nutshell, a dizzy old miner finds some white stuff bubbling up from the snow-laden ground. He does what anyone else would do – sticks his finger in it and puts it in his mouth. It tastes good. Fast forward, and it’s in containers being sold in every store available, and marketed on TV, radio and billboards. The old geezers at ice cream HQ hire David “Moe” Rutherford (Michael Moriarty) to penetrate the company and find out its secret. He quickly hooks up with Nicole (Marcovicci) who came up with the campaign and the name, and they set out on a quest to get to the bottom of this dessert sensation and find out more about. Along the way, they find out that it’s a genetic, natural organism that – once digested – eats you from within and turns you into a sort of communist proponent of mass, natural genocide. This device gives us numerous opportunities for gaping mouths, head explosions, and white goop spraying around everywhere. A little kid named Jason saw it moving and has developed a fear of it; trashing a supermarket and going mental whilst his family get hooked. Jason is rescued by Moe and together they enlist Paul Sorvino’s right-wing military nut to bring The Stuff down. As I’m typing this, I’m realising just how silly this sounds.

But there you go. This IS silly stuff. What it actually is, is an allegory for cigarettes and – more presciently anyway – big pharma. Mega multinational conglomerates will stop at nothing to foist products on to us which are fatal as long as they are making money. The FDA is in the pocket of the American dollar, and release this material without trail, as Danny Aiello’s character forcefully convinces Moe “If there’s no reason to forbid a product, then we have to okay it”. In just that one sentence alone, it tells us everything we need to know. And it’s not just big pharma and blindsided reactionary genocide perpetrated by big companies that are to blame. Cohen seems to suggest that we are to blame, too. Do you smoke? Well, that’ll kill you. That sweaty kebab you had on the way home from the pub last night? Guess what…

Then there’s the alternate viewpoint; coming as it did in 1985, just as AIDS was breaking out – if the Earth is giving off a natural source of destruction disguised as a food, then surely mother nature is trying to eradicate humanity by attacking the internal digestive organs. Is it a coincidence that AIDS appears shortly thereafter attacking a different set of organs? Maybe Cohen was on to something, here. As he mentions in my interview with him, AIDS was a stronger component of his follow-up movie It’s Alive II: Island of the Alive – afterall, it concerns itself with killer offspring – but nevertheless, but my favourite movie and the best movie ever made are both well ahead of their time. One could easily argue that the wrong one got remade. Afterall.

The Stuff as a movie, purely from an objective viewpoint, isn’t the best made movie in the world. Some of the editing choices in particular are especially dire; usually around intense action scenes. That said, this is a product of intensely cheap labour, but very obviously coupled with a sense of art of art’s sake. There’s real love here in the script and for every bad cut there’s a superb and wry observation. The entire movie is blanketed by a terrific performance by Tony-award winning Michael Moriarty playing it all Southern “Every time people gimme money, I always want ‘Moe’!”. The affable, charming rogue who’s playing up his dumb exterior to work his own way within the company is a wonderful idea never really seen since in a movie. Andrea Marcovicci is the straight ‘man’ – and absolutely gorgeous, as well. Scot Bloom got a lot of stick for his performance as Jason, but I think it’s one of the hardest characters in one of the most sincere story arcs in the movie – and at a tender eleven years of age, he does a remarkably good job of it.

As a whole, the movie is just a lot of fun. And it’s a cool 86 minutes in length. I had absolutely no idea that The Stuff had so many fans that Arrow felt the need to release a package like this – but they have! It makes me smile that there are enough people out there who like it enough to warrant Arrow Video a release. If you’ve not seen the movie and are now considering checking it out, then you’ll probably chalk it up as campy B movie nonsense – which, inevitably, it is.

As I alluded to earlier in this write-up, though, The Stuff is one of “those” films from your childhood – just as The ‘Burbs and Big Trouble in Little China was for many, too. So if you missed the boat, lower your expectations. As for the rest of us who can literally never get enough of The Stuff; you’re in for a treat. Arrow have done a stonkingly good job with this one; you can’t afford not to get your hands one a copy. (10/10 ) (It’s all relative, you understand!)

*Arrow Video’s release of “The Stuff” is available to buy and rent from March 10th, 2014. Pre-order here: www.arrowfilms.co.uk)

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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